Brad Keselowski will start from the Cup pole position at Bristol
Team Penske drivers will control the front row of the starting lineup at Bristol Motor Speedway for Saturday night’s first-round finale in the NASCAR Cup playoffs.
Richmond Raceway winner Brad Keselowski will lead the field to the green flag, and teammate Joey Logano, who has notched back to back third-place finishes to open the playoffs, will start second. Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick will form the second row.
Here are the starting positions for the rest of the 16 playoff drivers (in order): Austin Dillon (fifth), Chase Elliott (sixth), Denny Hamlin (seventh), Alex Bowman (eighth), Kyle Busch (ninth), Aric Almirola (10th), Clint Bowyer (11th), Cole Custer (12th), Kurt Busch (13th), Ryan Blaney (14th), William Byron (15th) and Matt DiBenedetto (16th).
STARTING LINEUP: Where everyone will start in the Bass Pro Shops Night Race
Based on the points and first-round victories, the top 12 drivers will advance to the second round after Saturday. Clint Bowyer currently occupies 12th in the standings with William Byron (trailing Bowyer by three points), Custer (-8), DiBenedetto (-25) and Blaney (-27) in danger of being eliminated.
Keselowski won the May 31 race at Bristol Motor Speedway after starting first at the 0.533-mile oval where he has three career Cup victories.
The No. 2 Ford driver, who will be starting first in a Cup race for the third time this season, was awarded the Busch Pole Award using a formula based on four statistical categories: owner points position, the driver’s finish, team owner’s finish and fastest lap from the most recently completed race.
Since the end of the regular season, playoff cars now fill the top starting positions, according to how many remain eligible for the championship. In the Round of 16, the top 16 starting positions will be playoff cars; in the Round of 12, the top 12 starting positions will be playoff cars, etc..
NASCAR previously had used a random draw to set most of its lineups since returning in May during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has eliminated practice and qualifying on nearly all race weekends.
Click here for the Bristol Cup starting lineup for Saturday.
NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol
Race time: 7:30 p.m. ET, Saturday
Track: Bristol Motor Speedway; Bristol, Tennessee (0.533-mile speedway)
Length: 500 laps (266.5 miles)
Stages: Stage 1 ends Lap 125. Stage 2 ends Lap 250.
TV coverage: NBCSN
Radio: Performance Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
Streaming: NBC Sports app (subscription required); goprn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)
Next Truck race: Thursday at Bristol (200 laps, 106.6 miles), 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1
Next Xfinity race: Friday at Bristol (300 laps, 159.9 miles), 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN